The Mother Of Gospel Music: Mahalia Jackson

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Staying True to Gospel Roots

In 1929 she met the man know as the Father of Gospel music, Thomas A. Dorsey. They connected musically and in the mid-1930s they began touring for five years, singing at gospel conventions and churches. Dorsey’s song “Take My Hand Precious Lord” became a staple in Jackson’s repetoire. Shortley after touring, Mahalia record for Decca in 1937, and then for Apollo Records from 1946–1954. During her stint with Decca, the gospel powerhouse married Isaac Lanes Grey Hockenhull. The marriage was brief because of Hockenhull’s pressure on Mahalia to sing secular music. She stayed true to her gospel roots, and her faith would soon pay off. 

(Photo: Justin Westerfield/Commercial Appeal\ /Landov)

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